Growing Great Plants: Poinsettias
Poinsettias are one of the quintessential holiday plants of all time. Their spectacular flowers, which are actually colored bracts, have delighted generations throughout the holiday season. While most of us consider them throw away plants, those who are determined to make them last a bit longer can follow a few simple steps to keep them going strong.
HOW TO CHOOSE
When choosing a plant at your local store make sure you choose one with strong stems. Avoid those plants with wilted foliage or ones which have green edges on the flowering bracts. Another helpful tip is to look in the very center of the bract where you will find the very small actual flowers. These should have very little pollen on them.
HOW TO GROW
Poinsettias want at least 6 hours of filtered or direct sun. They can easily be grown in any window with the exception of a North one. Ideally the temperature should be kept between 65 and 75 with little to no cold air draft. Make sure to water only when the soil is completely dried out or the foliage is wilting. They should not sit in water as it will promote root rot.
Poinsettias are native to Mexico and are members of the Euphorbia family. They can grow to large sized shrubs and trees in their native landscape up to 13 feet tall. Being a member of the Euphorbia family they do have the ability to cause skin irritation when the milky sap comes into contact with skin on some people. However, they are not considered poisonous, as is often written. Armed with a little bit of knowledge your Poinsettia should last 4-6 weeks on average. Happy Growing!
- Ulysses Hedrick